Enlivenment, a first book of poetry from Lynne Sedgmore
This volume of 24 poems, with beautiful purple cover and thick-papered pages, is a refined expression of her spiritual journey. The power of her writing arises from her sense of the sacred infusing the world of everyday realities, her melding of the inner and outer life, the spiritual and the visceral. Take these lines from 'Mother Love':
No magic potions here or fairy mother wand –
just me – alone – post-birth –
with open soul,
and you held tight in trembling arms.
There are reflections here of her former busy life, for example in the elegiac poem 'Awe in the City' (a title implicitly contrasted with the world's recent obsessions with Greed and Sex in the City) when, walking to her central London workplace early in the morning, beside the River Thames and Parliament:
I pause – stunned
at the start of my demanding day –
stopped still with awe.
Finding time to stand and stare
as tears come;
seeing spirit everywhere –
schisms healing –
falling away –
Several poems convey a raw soulful empathy with people she knows to carry lasting wounds, while blessing them from that imperturbable heart space that radiates peace and supporting love. One of these imagines how it feels to be the victim of incestuous rape as a child, and holds out the hope of healing. Another records her thoughts for a friend embarking on an 'Anniversary Vigil' for the brother who ended his own life ten years before. This comes towards the end of the poem:
I pray the peace he found in death
will fill your soul,
renew your breath,
refresh your life
as you release the hurt
and let him go.
I've read this excerpt a dozen times, and it brings an inner gasp every time, sparked by the word "breath" rising at the end of the third line – juxtaposed with the earlier falling note of "death" – as it literally raises the breath within me.